Press release

On-call firefighters complete fast track training course

Firefighters Leanne Hollington and Evan Theobald

Two firefighters have completed a 17-week training course to fast track their training to become on-call firefighters with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighter Evan Theobald and Firefighter Leanne Hollington have been training at ECFRS’ Service Training Centre in Witham for the last 17 weeks on the same course wholetime firefighters take on.

The opportunity is a first for ECFRS with some last minute spots on its latest wholetime training course being offered to the pair to keep the course full. The Service had a pool of on-call firefighters who were able to take on the 17 week training course at a moment’s notice.

Evan and Leanne both joined ECFRS to help give back to their local communities and were able to rearrange their personal lives to join the training course at the last minute. 

Both have been working their full time jobs alongside the training course on evenings and weekends. Evan is a chef and Leanne is a singer. 

Completing what would normally be around 18 months of weekly training sessions in 17 weeks, Evan and Leanne are now Phase Two firefighters. They’ve completed every training element they need to attend a variety of incidents in the same way wholetime firefighters would be deployed.

They’ll continue their training at their weekly drills nights at their fire stations.

Evan, who is heading to West Mersea Fire Station said: “The training has been great, I really enjoyed the Breathing Apparatus training. The live fire is definitely the best part of the training. It’s brilliant, fun, it’s tough and it’s challenging. But it’s worth it!”

Leanne, who is heading to Ongar Fire Station said: “It’s been brilliant. To do the training altogether consecutively and condense that training time and really solidify the learning has just been brilliant."

Station Manager John Warmann, On-Call Liaison Manager said: “Our on-call firefighters complete the same training as our wholetime firefighters but over a longer time period. Usually this takes between 12-18 months for our on-call colleagues to complete the training around their busy lives and commitments outside of the fire service. Evan and Leanne have completed this in 17 weeks and will continue training weekly at their fire station weekly drill nights.

“We had some last minute spots on our latest wholetime squad and saw an opportunity to offer those spots to our on-call colleagues for the first time rather than have a smaller wholetime squad. We’re really proud to have had a bank of new on-call firefighters keen to put as much time in as they could to help their local communities and are really pleased Evan and Leanne were able to move things around to join the course. Their commitment to their communities is commendable.”

More than three quarters of fire stations in Essex are staffed by on-call firefighters. 

They all live or work within five minutes of the fire station and are paged when there is an incident. This means they can go about their daily business working or spending time in their community while helping to keep the fire station available when needed. 

As well as responding to incidents, on-call firefighters also carry out home fire safety visits, attend community events and visit community hubs like schools and care homes to give safety advice. 

If you live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be paid to protect your community as an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more here.

Firefighters Evan and Leanne talking about their training course

Watch Evan and Leanne talking about their training course

Remote video URL

Did you find this page useful?